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Homegrown Music Festival: An old band with a new name

Dedric Clark and The Social Animals features Tony Petersen (left), Dedric Clark, Roger Whittet and Boyd Smith and plays at 10:30 p.m. today at Carmody Irish Pub as part of the Homegrown Music Festival. (Photo by Rachel Lee Photography)

A band’s name change can be a tricky thing in the music biz.

One must alert the fans, redirect them to a new website and explain to audiences that, yes, this CD is by Diet Folk, but now the band is called Dedric Clark and The Social Animals.

So why bother?

“We didn’t want to get sued,” said Tony Petersen, the banjo player for the band formerly known as Diet Folk.

He’s only kind of kidding. Diet Folk does sound like Diet Coke.

But there were other reasons, too, that the band chose to re-finagle URLs and shelve the Diet Folk T-shirts. The group wanted a more serious name with longevity. And it didn’t want to get characterized as just a folk act, Petersen said.

“There’s a producer helping us produce an album,” he said. “He recommended we change the name to Dedric Clark and the something-something.”

The old band with a new name plays at 10:30 p.m. Monday at Carmody Irish Pub as part of the Homegrown Music Festival, which features more than 200 bands playing at venues in the Twin Ports through Sunday. DC and The Social Animals features the titular vocalist, Boyd Smith on drums, bass player Roger Whittet and Petersen.

Diet Folk wasn’t really an accurate description of what the band sounds like, according to Petersen.

“We actually just got into a long discussion about it,” he said. “Everyone has a different idea of folk rock, alt-country. We all decided on alt-country (and) expanded into folk-rock-pop-soul-Americana.”

Petersen said the band is aiming for bigger and better.

“It feels like the right direction,” he said. “In two years, it won’t matter. It’s going to be old news and everyone will know us as DC and The Social Animals.”

The group released the album “Cold” in 2012 — though it’s under the Diet Folk name. A News Tribune reviewer said of it: “The group … expands exponentially from folk to a mix of soul, pop, rock and bluegrass that is fresh and infectious. ‘Cold’ shows the growth of Diet Folk from its lean bluegrass beginnings into an ensemble that has the potential to move in many directions.”

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